Nearly 10 years ago, I embarked upon my career as a female photographer, and my first paid job was an Asian wedding in London. It came in through a colleague who was a very well-known Asian wedding photographer in London. He needed a female to go to the bride’s house at 6:30am and cover her and the family’s preparations before the wedding ceremony.
I didn’t quite know what I was to photograph, so I simply covered what was happening without much interruption. This went down well, and I delivered natural photographs of the dress, jewellery, shoes, mehndi, bridal make-up and the family. Simple, discreet and artistically composed photography is still the same approach I take for all the jobs I cover.
I had no idea that this would be seminal in my career, as ten years ago, there were very few female photographers who covered Asian weddings. That first Asian wedding with its absolutely beautiful bride and breath-taking venue of The London Banqueting Hall on Whitehall started me off with a great portfolio.
I continued to find that a female wedding photographer was required at many Islamic events. If the wedding was segregated, then I was able to photograph on the ladies’ side and ensure the photos would only be seen by myself. At mixed weddings and Hindu, I could be discreet and photograph in the dressing room before the wedding and hardly be noticed as I was “one of the girls.”
For this post, I’ve selected a few photographs from weddings in East London and Essex, namely, Redbridge Town Hall in Ilford, Walthamstow Town Hall and Sir James Hawkley Hall. These Islamic weddings were either segregated or the Muslim brides preferred to not have their faces in photographs online, so this will just give a hint of what the weddings were like.
I do not photograph to a formula, but I do have a mental list of moments and details I am looking for to covey the mood and personality of each wedding. I want a viewer seeing the completed set of photographs to be able to read them like a story, so I will photograph the setting give a sense of the time, weather, season and venue, and I will then look for little stories, details and moments during the day which I hope will make the bride and groom smile every time they look through their photographs and remember their wedding and hopefully recommend me to their friends as a great choice for a female Asian wedding photographer in London.